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View Full Version : open-source versus closed-source

2003-10-25, 04:51
I've seen quite a few coddled software aficionados, who thanks to the benefit of their friends and their ftp servers, demand nothing but the "best" when they choose what software they choose to deal with. You know they probably didn't pay for Adobe PhotoShop if they're living at home with their parents.

Adversity promotes resourcefulness, and those who go for the top dollar corporate item are usually getting a bloated piece of software that is glamorous but certainly not the most ideal or efficiently built piece of software.

Of all the software that is out there, I have the highest regard for the professionalism of the open-source programmers. The motives of such people are guided by altruism. Professional prestige is a motivating factor for the developers, rather than profit. Having open-source allows for peer review.

Due to the peer review, open-source software is the most secure and reliable. Also, it tends to be lightweight and efficient rather than bloated.

Supporting open-source software and supporting peer-to-peer are along the same lines of thinking. They both share the common theme of freedom, openness, and empowering the masses.

I'm not saying that open-source software is always the best choice out there, but it is something that should be given our highest regard, and it ought to be our first choice of consideration as well.

2003-10-28, 07:21
microsoft - sucks
linux - good but sucky at times
open source rules and will keep on getting bigger
emember microcock still has 92% of the worlds computers with their os on it (forced at times hehe)

but they just lost china

they are going to use open course and chinese software

open source is good but it depends on the size and intensions of a comunity

p.s. been workin back a bit lately not much time to get on here

2004-01-07, 03:14
http://www.microsoft.com/library/toolbar/3.0/images/banners/ms_masthead_ltr.gif (http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/facts/default.asp)
*As reported by Microsoft, of course.

Microsoft is conducting a six-month campaign claiming that Windows is superior in cost savings to Linux. They have a site (http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/facts/default.asp) listing reports that they call facts which support their claim that Microsoft is cheaper for businesses than Linux. The site contains reports, ironically in Adobe pdf format, of studies commissioned by Microsoft that support their view.

The news article about their campaign can be read here (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1426252,00.asp).

2004-01-07, 14:36
hey if any OS was decent id be happy to pay for it
i got xp free so im not complaining except for its extremely poor stabilty and power
linux is the oposite
free stable and has much power
but being new to a linux system u may as well not bother
trying to install stuff that isnt packaged?
even when they are it does nothing
sometimes people just want it for music
i need to fuck with it for days to get red hat to somply play mp3's
they either make a decent audio converter or go to hell
im not burning 20 cd's worth of converted(shitty sounding) music just because of some lincencing shit
(dl a new version of xmms and it works but only under root cause it wont change permissons on my account to let me install anything

fuck linux
fuck windows
ima makin my own

2004-01-10, 03:30
Here is some information:

2004-02-13, 10:25
A small part of the Windows 2000 source code was posted on the internet. From the CNET (http://news.com.com/2100-7349_3-5158496.html) article, is this quote:
"Although Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has publicly bragged about the security of Windows, even Microsoft fears the release of its code. In testimony during the Microsoft antitrust trial, Jim Allchin, the company's senior vice president for Windows, said opening up the company's source code could be devastating for the operating system's security."

Closed-source software has a false sense of security, because you have to trust that the company has looked through all of its code for vulnerabilities.

2004-04-23, 16:46
microsoft works

2004-04-24, 08:52
what would u define as working?
fully or almost?
my windows has never worked fully
in my current setup the only way to exchange files through the lan is through lan2p
because windows crashes when it gets to looking in neibourhood network
half the time thing wont delete from the recycle bin and half the time the windows directory is in there
but its not really it just give me a warning it cant read it

do i need to make a fucking list?
ill get to it and post it up here some time
feel free to add

one day i will create an awesome OS ;)

2006-01-18, 01:39
As I reply to this thread that was started more than two years ago, I have learned to choose my words more carefully. One thing that occurred to me after reading the article Why "Free Software" is better than "Open Source" (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-software-for-freedom.html) is that it is better for me to say that I am enthusiastic about the Free Software movement than for me to say that I am enthusiastic about the Open Source movement. The reason so is that emphasis on Free(dom) Software is one about principle, while the emphasis on Open Source is one that could be construed as being merely utilitarian. So to clarify my views on the matter, what I have said in the past regarding my support for Open Source, was specifically a support of Free Software which promotes freedom, since my support is based primarily on principle and secondarily for utilitarian reasons.

The licenses for Free Software are covered under the GNU GPL. The GNU GPL is not a license in the typical sense of software licenses, because it promotes rather than restricts freedom. The GNU GPL was written by Richard Stallman's Free Software Foundation (http://www.fsf.org/). The first version of the GNU GPL was adopted in 1989 and the second version currently found here (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html) was adopted in 1991. Free Software Foundation has decided to create a third version that is scheduled to be implemented some time between September 2006 and March 2007. On 2006-01-16 it released a first draft of the GNU GPL version 3 (http://gplv3.fsf.org/draft). The draft is open for public comments and subsequent revisions. A second and perhaps final draft is expected to be released in June 2006.

What has changed about version 3 of the GNU GPL, is that it has taken a more active (explicit) role, rather than a passive (implicit) role, in defending the freedom aspect of the software for the user. It calls for patent retaliation to combat software patent aggression and to discourage lawsuits. An entity's permission to use the GNU GPL software would be revoked if the entity were to file an aggressive software patent infringement lawsuit. It has taken on the concept of software patents and DRM as a threat or an evil which is incompatible with Free Software. Here is the rationale calling for a new version, which explains and summarizes the proposed GPLv3:
Rationale Document - GPLv3 (http://gplv3.fsf.org/rationale)

Regarding Digital Restrictions Management, here is a quote from the Preamble of the first GPLv3 draft:

Some countries have adopted laws prohibiting software that enables users to escape from Digital Restrictions Management. DRM is fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, which is to protect users' freedom; therefore, the GPL ensures that the software it covers will neither be subject to, nor subject other works to, digital restrictions from which escape is forbidden.

The GPLv3 stance opposing DRM in principle is a welcome one when compared to the one stated 2003-04-24 by Linus Torvalds to a Linux kernel mailing list. I quote it in its entirety below, which I took from this source (http://linuxkp.org/en/content.php?&content/editorial/drm_torvalds.html):

Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 20:59:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Linus Torvalds
To: Kernel Mailing List
Subject: Flame Linus to a crisp!

there's no way to do this gracefully, so I won't even try. I'm going to just hunker down for some really impressive extended flaming, and my asbestos underwear is firmly in place, and extremely uncomfortable.

I want to make it clear that DRM is perfectly ok with Linux!

There, I've said it. I'm out of the closet. So bring it on...

I've had some private discussions with various people about this already, and I do realize that a lot of people want to use the kernel in some way to just make DRM go away, at least as far as Linux is concerned. Either by some policy decision or by extending the GPL to just not allow it.

In some ways the discussion was very similar to some of the software patent related GPL-NG discussions from a year or so ago: "we don't like it, and we should change the license to make it not work somehow".

And like the software patent issue, I also don't necessarily like DRM myself, but I still ended up feeling the same: I'm an "Oppenheimer", and I refuse to play politics with Linux, and I think you can use Linux for whatever you want to - which very much includes things I don't necessarily personally approve of.

The GPL requires you to give out sources to the kernel, but it doesn't limit what you can _do_ with the kernel. On the whole, this is just another example of why rms calls me "just an engineer" and thinks I have no ideals.

[ Personally, I see it as a virtue - trying to make the world a slightly better place _without_ trying to impose your moral values on other people. You do whatever the h*ll rings your bell, I'm just an engineer who wants to make the best OS possible. ]

In short, it's perfectly ok to sign a kernel image - I do it myself indirectly every day through the kernel.org, as kernel.org will sign the tar-balls I upload to make sure people can at least verify that they came that way. Doing the same thing on the binary is no different: signing a binary is a perfectly fine way to show the world that you're the one behind it, and that _you_ trust it.

And since I can imaging signing binaries myself, I don't feel that I can disallow anybody else doing so.

Another part of the DRM discussion is the fact that signing is only the first step: _acting_ on the fact whether a binary is signed or not (by refusing to load it, for example, or by refusing to give it a secret key) is required too.

But since the signature is pointless unless you _use_ it for something, and since the decision how to use the signature is clearly outside of the scope of the kernel itself (and thus not a "derived work" or anything like that), I have to convince myself that not only is it clearly ok to act on the knowledge of whather the kernel is signed or not, it's also outside of the scope of what the GPL talks about, and thus irrelevant to the license.

That's the short and sweet of it. I wanted to bring this out in the open, because I know there are people who think that signed binaries are an act of "subversion" (or "perversion") of the GPL, and I wanted to make sure that people don't live under mis-apprehension that it can't be done.

I think there are many quite valid reasons to sign (and verify) your kernel images, and while some of the uses of signing are odious, I don't see any sane way to distinguish between "good" signers and "bad" signers.

Comments? I'd love to get some real discussion about this, but in the end I'm personally convinced that we have to allow it.

Btw, one thing that is clearly _not_ allowed by the GPL is hiding private keys in the binary. You can sign the binary that is a result of the build process, but you can _not_ make a binary that is aware of certain keys without making those keys public - because those keys will obviously have been part of the kernel build itself.

So don't get these two things confused - one is an external key that is applied _to_ the kernel (ok, and outside the license), and the other one is embedding a key _into_ the kernel (still ok, but the GPL requires that such a key has to be made available as "source" to the kernel).


2006-01-29, 17:03
Linus Torvalds has rejected upgrading the license of Linux to GPLv3. In a mailing list 2006-01-25 he made his position known. Here is the entire quote of Torvalds from the mailing list, which has been taken from here (http://www.ussg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0601.3/0559.html):

Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Wed Jan 25 2006 - 17:39:09 EST

On Wed, 25 Jan 2006, Chase Venters wrote:
> This means that when the code went GPL v1 -> GPL v2, the transition was
> permissible. Linux v1.0 shipped with the GPL v2. It did not ship with a
> separate clause specifying that "You may only use *this* version of the GPL"
> as it now does. (I haven't done any research to find out when this clause was
> added, but it was after the transition to v2).

Bzzt. Look closer.

The Linux kernel has _always_ been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever been valid.

The "version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version" language in the GPL copying file is not - and has never been - part of the actual License itself. It's part of the _explanatory_ text that talks about how to apply the license to your program, and it says that _if_ you want to accept any later versions of the GPL, you can state so in your source code.

The Linux kernel has never stated that in general. Some authors have chosen to use the suggested FSF boilerplate (including the "any later version" language), but the kernel in general never has.

In other words: the _default_ license strategy is always just the particular version of the GPL that accompanies a project. If you want to license a program under _any_ later version of the GPL, you have to state so explicitly. Linux never did.

So: the extra blurb at the top of the COPYING file in the kernel source tree was added not to _change_ the license, but to _clarify_ these points so that there wouldn't be any confusion.

The Linux kernel is under the GPL version 2. Not anything else. Some individual files are licenceable under v3, but not the kernel in general.

And quite frankly, I don't see that changing. I think it's insane to require people to make their private signing keys available, for example. I wouldn't do it. So I don't think the GPL v3 conversion is going to happen for the kernel, since I personally don't want to convert any of my code.

> If a migration to v3 were to occur, the only potential hairball I see is if
> someone objected on the grounds that they contributed code to a version of the
> kernel Linus had marked as "GPLv2 Only". IANAL.

No. You think "v2 or later" is the default. It's not. The _default_ is to not allow conversion.

Conversion isn't going to happen.


I read that all the code which has been contributed by many developers towards Linux, is still controlled by each of them rather than being controlled by Linux. So if the license of Linux were upgraded, all the contributors would have to be contacted in order to get their permission to upgrade the GPL license. I think there must be a workaround to this, but I don't know enough to know how it would be achieved. I think it would be possible to upgrade some of its components so that some may be GPLv2 and others may be GPLv3, with the hopes that all of the components of Linux would eventually become GPLv3.

There is a question in my mind as to how much Linus Torvalds controls Linux. Just because he doesn't want Linux to upgrade its license doesn't mean that it shouldn't. Perhaps his time has come to depart from the Linux team since he has become a dead anchor slowing down its progress. No one should be allowed to rest on his laurels to the detriment of the community. The free software community is not based on icons, but on principles.

Notice the choice of words that Linus used. He said: "I personally don't want to convert any of my code.". That shows that he believes the code which is freely available still belongs to him, which defies the spirit of open source. Also since there are many contributors to Linux, that discounts them. They may want to upgrade their code to GPLv3, and Torvalds does not speak for them. And another choice of words he used: "quite frankly, I don't see that changing". Anyone who uses the phrases "quite frankly", "honestly", "to be truthful", and so on, tends to be a liar. Linus Torvalds is not giving honest reasons for his rejection of GPLv3. He knows he is being dishonest and that is why in his defensiveness, he used that phrase.

So what is the reason that Torvalds rejected GPLv3? I suspect he wants to partner up Linux with a wealthy company like Microsoft or Apple/Pixar/Disney. Linus wants to sell Linux to some proprietary company, and that is why he refuses to upgrade the GPL license.

A version of Linux needs to be created which follows GPLv3. That could entail a split in the development if Linus Torvalds doesn't step down and instead smothers the Linux project with his ego. Or perhaps a new version could be created with a different name, and Linus can keep his code which welcomes DRM software all to himself.

Some of the criticisms of GPLv3 are that in its attempt to be free, it is overly restrictive. Because it bans DRM it is viewed as less free than GPLv2. I personally think that freedom is something that must be vigilantly and actively defended, so I believe that GPLv3 does a better job at promoting software freedom.

There is an article here (http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/06/01/24/1710240.shtml) at NewsForge on the Debian reaction to GPLv3. Debian is a nonprofit distributor of Linux and has had a lot of influence on the GNU GPL. There was a comment in the article that said: "If we allow terrorists to use our code, and allow it to be used in biological weapons research, clearly also black hat hackers must be allowed to use it to produce spyware." I don't agree with that argument because it tries to make a comparison between people using the code for outside purposes and people using the code to restrict computer freedom. The principle to be followed is that of software freedom, just in the realm of computers and software. The GPL does not try to promote freedom beyond the computer, as that would be beyond its scope. Terrorists who use the code for their own purposes are not restricting software freedom, whereas DRM software writers would be restricting software freedom.

There is an article here (http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/06/01/25/238257.shtml) at NewsForge about the rejection of GPLv3 by Linus Torvalds. Reading the comments there are interesting. I agree with one comment made by ambosbatto and thought it was a great defense of upgrading the Linux license:

I think that we need to take a stand against DRM, software patents, invasive spyware, and other kinds of activities which restrict our freedom. While I can respect the libertarian sentiments voiced by some of the Debian folks and Linus' engineering perspective that political sentiments get in the way of designing good software, I think these ideas are off-base in this case.

The libertarian perspective that we shouldn't put restrictions on the code actually leads to losses in the freedom for the majority. The engineer who says that we should just do whatever has the best technical merit fails to realize that the best technical people don't want to contribute to a project if they don't have any guarantee of future reciprocity in kind. Who wants to dedicate their life to something, only to see it turned into spyware, controlled by DRM, and taxed and restricted by patents. From an engineering perspective, GPL3 guarantees good and efficient software in the future that isn't hidebound by technological and legal restrictions. From a libertarian perspective, the restrictions of the GPL3 are outweighed by the freedoms it guarantees. DRM, patents, and spyware are a lot worse restriction of your liberties than GPL3 will ever be.

Look. people, we can win the argument over invasive technology and patent restrictions and we should force the issue. Free software today is not just the hacker's playbox anymore. It represents a substantial chunk of the computing world and an even larger share of the future. Free software potentially has the power to stand up against the media industry and the patent lawyers, etc. Preventing the worst industry practices, however, requires that the FOSS community unify behind the GPL3. I'm very sad that Linus doesn't see the political issues as important, but they are just as important as the engineering issues. Without Linus' support, it will be very hard to oppose DRM, patents, etc. My hope is that a lot of the other people that work on the kernel will help him see why the GPL3 really is necessary if we want to live in a free world not controlled by the technology we depend upon.

2006-02-08, 11:00
Here are two good articles to read on the subject of Stallman and GPLv3:
LinuxP2P - Richard Stallman on P2P (http://www.linuxp2p.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=374)
The Register - If Linus snubs new GPL, is that it for 'open source'? (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/06/torvalds_gpl_analysis/)

2006-02-12, 04:55
The recent objections of Linus towards GPLv3 can be read in this article: Torvalds hasn't ruled out GPL 3 for Linux (http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS3301105877.html). He said that it is not its anti-DRM stance that bothers him, but the fact that digitally signed binaries require the private keys to be made public. But those keys only need be made public if they are necessary for the software to operate and for the software to be free. On some operating systems, unsigned software may not run, leading to a treacherous computing condition which has been euphemistically called "Trusted Computing". On such a system, one would not be able to put in his own drivers for the hardware or freely modify and tinker with the software. Such a system would not be licensable under GPLv3.

From the GPLv3 mailing list dated 2006-02-08, such concerns of Linus have been answered by Stallman:

GPLv3 would not require Linux developers to publish the private keys that they use to sign Linux source versions to show they are authentic. But GPLv3 would require the manufacturer of the Tivo you bought to give you the key needed to sign a binary so it will run on your Tivo. That means you will really be able to run the modified versions on your Tivo and they will really run.

The Tivo was the first well-known case of a machine that included free software but refused to run the users' modified versions, but it surely won't be the last. It happens that Linux is one of the programs that were tivoized in this way.

We hope that the developers of Linux will adopt the GPLv3, so as to make future Linux versions resistant to tivoization in the future.

Either Linus is an idiot with his baseless objections, or he is willfully being deceptive as to the reasons he gives for objecting to GPLv3. The biggest priority of Linus is for Linux to be adopted widely and for it to be popular, rather than for it to be free. That is why I believe he will never accept GPLv3 for Linux. He will continue to raise baseless objections and stall his support without being outright confrontational with the Free Software Foundation. If he were to be outright confrontational then he may lose his credibility because people would see where he really stands, as a fanboy of Digital Restrictions Management and of Treacherous Computing.

FSF has released a video of the 2006-01-16 conference at M.I.T. where they presented the GPLv3 for the first time. The video can be downloaded by way of the bittorrent protocol, and the torrent file can be downloaded here (http://gplv3.fsf.org/av/gplv3-draft1-release.ogg.torrent). The video is 200 MB and is an ogg video (Ogg Theora) file. Note that ogg video files have the same extension (.ogg) as ogg audio files, so you may have to manually open it with a video player that handles ogg video if your audio player tries to open it. The VLC media player (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) handles the file properly.

The first 90 minutes of the video show the presentation and explanation of GPLv3. The majority of the presentation is made by the lawyer Eben Moglen. The last 30 minutes of the video have questions and answers involving the audience participants. There were two questions of interest that I took note of. One was a question regarding DRM, which occurred at 1:44:50 into the video. And a second question regarding digitally signed binaries occurred at 1:58:30.

2006-02-19, 17:10
Let us recall one of the objections raised by Linus towards GPLv3. On January 25th he said:
"I think it's insane to require people to make their private signing keys available"

Later it was suggested by FSF that Linus had misunderstood GPLv3 by thinking that it required of him to give up his private signing keys. Linus replied to their suggestion, which can be read in a NewsForge article (http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/06/02/15/2141230.shtml?tid=147):
"I understand the GPLv3 requirements quite well, thank you. When the FSF says that I mis-understood, they have their heads up their asses.

They have different goals than I do. I think it's perfectly ok to have keys that are required for installation/running. I don't think it has anything to do with source code."

2006-03-10, 11:08
There are two interviews with Linus that are available to be read on Forbes:
Linux Licensing (http://www.forbes.com/technology/2006/03/09/torvalds-linux-licensing-cz_dl_0309torvalds1.html)
Torvalds on TiVo (http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/09/torvalds-linux-licensing-cz_dl_0309torvalds2.html)

Linus if full of contradictions. From the first article the interviewer asked:

Are you participating in the GPLv3 process?

No, I'm not actively involved. And it's not so much because I couldn't be, it's more because I just can't find it in me to care too deeply. I'm the kind of person who hates office politics. I'm pretty happy with the GPLv2, and I just don't have the motivation or inclination to start talking to lawyers. I'm a programmer. I worry about kernel bugs.

If Linus has no concern over the GPL, then he should STFU and stop rejecting version 3 for Linux. FSF will take care of the GPL and he can continue working on his kernel.

Here is the next contradiction, from the TiVo article:

I only care that they give the source code back, not that they make it easy, or necessarily even possible, to play with their hardware. Again, it's the "reciprocity of source code" versus the "freedom of software" thing.

In my worldview, it's OK for other people to do stupid things. I can complain about it, but in the end, it's their choice. If somebody offends me too much, I'll stop dealing with them. Now, I've had to limit my choice of long-distance phone companies because of this practice of mine, but I think it's more productive in the long run than trying to be "activist" with software licensing. Activism and technical decisions just don't mix well.

Linus has no grounds to even demand the reciprocity of source code, because doing so would be a form of "activism" which he denounces. If people have the freedom to do stupid or evil things, then that freedom should also include the freedom to violate their GPLv2 license.

2006-03-15, 10:59
The basic argument against GPLv3 has been that it brings about new restrictions which make it less free and harder to work with than GPLv2. The critics are wrong. GPLv3 is merely closing a loophole that exists in GPLv2. The loophole in GPLv2 is: one may have the source code of TiVo-like software, but one can not modify it because of its built-in encryption. While TiVo-like software may live up to its technical obligations under GPLv2 by providing its source code, having that source code is useless because it can not be modified or shared with others.

Here are the four software freedoms (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html):
freedom 0 - The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
freedom 1 - The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
freedom 2 - The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
freedom 3 - The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

FSF conducts its promotion and defense of GPLv3 by way of blogs, articles, and email to its members. There has been some back and forth discussion with articles critical of GPLv3 published online, which have been rebutted by FSF and GPLv3 supporters. Here are links to some articles.

2006-02-15 John Carroll - A utilitarian conception of the GPL (http://blogs.zdnet.com/carroll/?p=1538)
2006-02-23 John Sullivan - Free software without the freedom? (http://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/drm-carroll) (rebuttal to John Carroll)
2006-03-07 David Turner - Reaction to the DRM clause in GPLv3 (http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/gplv3-drm)
2006-03-09 Jonathan Zuck - GPL 3.0: A bonfire of the vanities? (http://news.com.com/2010-7344_3-6047707.html)

A rebuttal to the article by Jonathan Zuck was sent from FSF by way of email 2006-03-14 to the Info-gplv3 mailing list. Here is an excerpt from the email:

GPLv3 is designed to resist "TiVo-ization". But what does "TiVo-ization" really mean?

Jonathan Zuck is the president of the Association for Competitive Technology, a Microsoft front group. In a recent C-Net editorial, he wrote that "TiVo-ization" means "the merging of free and proprietary software into a single system." It does not. TiVo was far from the first company to do this, as Zuck points out. Red Hat, IBM, and many other companies do this.

FSF's problem with TiVo is not that TiVo makes proprietary software, or that that proprietary software runs on a free software operating system. Of course, FSF opposes all proprietary software, whether or not it's mingled with free software -- but TiVo is far from unique in that respect. What TiVo has done differently is make it intentionally
difficult for users to improve the free software portions of their system. They use encryption and digital signatures to prevent changes to any portion of the systems -- even the GPL portions. Of course, many talented hackers have worked around these systems. But it is not an easy task, and must be done every time TiVo upgrades their system.

TiVo users want access to the free software components for all sorts of reasons. They want to install bigger hard drives. They want to access their shows via other devices (for instance, copy small versions to portable video devices to take them on the road). And they want to build their own Personal Video Recorder software. All of these can be done without affecting TiVo's proprietary software at all.

"TiVo-ization" means building systems on top of free software that restrict users's freedoms to modify that software itself. Without the ability to upgrade, the freedom to make modifications is useless. And that's one of the freedoms the GPL was always intended to protect.

2006-03-22, 10:56
There are more two new articles about GPLv3 at Forbes, based on an email interview with Richard Stallman:
interview part 1 (http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/21/linux-stallman-gnu_cx_dl_0321stallman1.html)
interview part 2 (http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/21/gnu-gplv3-linux-cz_dl_0321stallman2.html)

2006-07-28, 01:01
FSF has released discussion draft 2 of the GPLv3. It can be viewed here:
Guide to the new drafts of the GPL and LGPL (http://gplv3.fsf.org/gpl3-dd2-guide.html).

Here is an excerpt from the press release (http://www.fsf.org/news/gplv3-dd2-released.html):

About the Revisions

The new draft clarifies that the license only directly restricts DRM in the special case in which it is used to prevent people from sharing or modifying GPLv3-covered software. The clarified DRM section preserves the spirit of the original GPL, which forbids adding additional unfree restrictions to free software. GPLv3 does not prohibit the implementation of DRM features, but prevents them from being imposed on users in a way that they cannot remove.

Other significant revisions in the new draft include a reworked license compatibility section, and provisions that specifically allow GPL-covered programs to be distributed on certain file sharing networks such as BitTorrent.

Additionally, this release includes the first draft of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 3. The LGPL license covers many free software system libraries, including some published by the Free Software Foundation.

2006-09-29, 00:02
Torvalds rules with an iron fist and if he has an opinion then so his Linux lackeys feel compelled to also have the same opinion. Torvalds is a god amongst Linux developers. How many of them spend the day wishing that they were Linus but feeling inadequate for not being so? They have settled for the security and ease of being his sidekicks in his orbit rather than going off on their own outside of the Linux clique and being their own people.

Just because something is "open source", does not mean that the developers are free or independent thinkers.

From what I can tell Linus has surrounded himself with 28 lackeys who do his bidding. That is a sad state of affairs for Linux, but it is probably a problem in many societies which claim to be liberal. The pressure of political correctness and the enthusiasm for the mission causes the liberalism to go lacking.

Linus is not a god. To worship Linus or Linux, is idolatry. Those of you who expected Linux to be the standard-bearer of computer freedom were wrong. Linux is the standard-bearer of Linus.

I would not even refer to Linus as a "benevolent dictator", because his stance towards software freedom and the GPLv3 has been malevolent. I suspect that he wants to cash in on Linux or sell it off, as Bram Cohen did with BitTorrent, compromising its freedom.

I refer to the poll (http://www.ussg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0609.2/1882.html) of Linus and his 28 lackeys which was posted on the Linux-Kernel mailing list 2006-09-22. Here are the results of the poll:

Vote key:

-3 I wouldn't want to use v3 (I really dislike it, or my company would have serious problems allowing me to participate using the v3 draft)

-2 I think v3 is much worse than v2

-1 I think v2 is better, but I don't care that deeply

0 I don't really care at all

1 I think v3 is better, but I don't care that deeply

2 I think v3 is much better than v2

3 I wouldn't want to use v2 (I really dislike it, or my company would have serious problems allowing me to participate using the GPLv2)

Name Vote
==== ====
Linus Torvalds -2.5
Alan Cox -2.0
James Bottomley -3.0
Ingo Molnar -1.0
Tony Luck -2.0
Neil Brown -1.0
Al Viro -2.0
Jeff Garzik -2.0
Mauro Carvalho Chehab -2.0
Arjan van de Ven -3.0
David Woodhouse -2.0
Greg Kroah Hartman -3.0
Ralf Baechle -1.5
Stephen Hemminger -2.0
Andrew Morton -3.0
Dmitry Torokhov -2.0
Tejun Heo -2.0
Thomas Gleixner -3.0
Takashi Iwai -2.0
Trond Myklebust -2.5
Roland Dreier -2.0
Dave Jones -2.0
Russell King -2.0
John W. Linville -2.0
Andi Kleen -2.0
Patrick McHardy -1.0
David S. Miller 0.0
Christoph Hellwig -2.0
Paul Mackerras -1.0

2007-04-02, 11:06
The third discussion draft of GPLv3 was released 2007-03-28. The actual text of the draft can be found here:

The change between GPLv2 to GPLv3 addresses two issues. One is TiVoization where systems using free software are not free themselves. And the second issue addressed is discriminatory patent promises such as the one made in November 2006 between Novell and Microsoft. That latter issue is the major change from GPLv3 dd2 to GPLv3 dd3. From page 23 of the third discussion draft rationale (http://gplv3.fsf.org/gpl3-dd3-rationale.pdf) is the following excerpt:

3.4.3 Discriminatory Patent Promises

A software patent forbids the use of a technique or algorithm, and its existence is a threat to all software developers and users. A patent holder can use a patent to suppress any program which implements the patented technique, even if thousands of other techniques are implemented together with it. Both free software and proprietary software are threatened with death in this way.

However, patents threaten free software with a fate worse than death: a patent holder might also try to use the patent to impose restrictions on use or distribution of a free program, such as to make users feel they must pay for permission to use it. This would effectively make it proprietary software, exactly what the GPL is intended to prevent.

Novell and Microsoft have recently attempted a new way of using patents against our community, which involves a narrow and discriminatory promise by a patent holder not to sue customers of one particular distributor of a GPL-covered program. Such deals threaten our community in several ways, each of which may be regarded as de facto proprietization of the software. If users are frightened into paying that one distributor just to be safe from lawsuits, in effect they are paying for permission to use the program. They effectively deny even these customers the full and safe exercise of some of the freedoms granted by the GPL. And they make disfavored free software developers and distributors more vulnerable to attacks of patent aggression, by dividing them from another part of our community, the commercial users that might otherwise come to their defense.

2007-05-04, 00:49
I just scrolled to this

and it seems a bit like beating off?


2007-05-31, 23:47
Why Upgrade to GPL Version 3
-- Richard Stallman

Version 3 of the GNU General Public License will soon be finished, enabling free software packages to upgrade from GPL version 2. This article explains why upgrading the license is important.

First of all, it is important to note that upgrading is a choice. GPL version 2 will remain a valid license, and no disaster will happen if some programs remain under GPLv2 while others advance to GPLv3. These two licenses are incompatible, but that isn't a serious problem.

When we say that GPLv2 and GPLv3 are incompatible, it means there is no legal way to combine code under GPLv2 with code under GPLv3 in a single program. This is because both GPLv2 and GPLv3 are copyleft licenses: each of them says, "If you include code under this license in a larger program, the larger program must be under this license too." There is no way to make them compatible. We could add a GPLv2-compatibility clause to GPLv3, but it wouldn't do the job, because GPLv2 would need a similar clause.

Fortunately, license incompatibility only matters when you want to link, merge or combine code from two different programs into a single program. There is no problem in having GPLv3-covered and GPLv2-covered programs side by side in an operating system. For instance, the TeX license and the Apache license are incompatible with GPLv2, but that doesn't stop us from running TeX and Apache in the same system with Linux, Bash and GCC. This is because they are all separate programs. Likewise, if Bash and GCC move to GPLv3, while Linux remains under GPLv2, there is no conflict.

Keeping a program under GPLv2 won't create problems. The reason to migrate is because of the existing problems which GPLv3 will address.

One major danger that GPLv3 will block is tivoization. Tivoization means computers (called "appliances") contain GPL-covered software that you can't change, because the appliance shuts down if it detects modified software. The usual motive for tivoization is that the software has features the manufacturer thinks lots of people won't like. The manufacturers of these computers take advantage of the freedom that free software provides, but they don't let you do

Some argue that competition between appliances in a free market should suffice to keep nasty features to a low level. Perhaps competition alone would avoid arbitrary, pointless misfeatures like "Must shut down between 1pm and 5pm every Tuesday", but even so, a choice of masters isn't freedom. Freedom means _you_ control what your software does, not merely that you can beg or threaten someone else who decides for you.

In the crucial area of Digital Restrictions Management--nasty features designed to restrict your use of the data in your
computer--competition is no help, because relevant competition is forbidden. Under the Digital Millenuium Copyright Act and similar laws, it is illegal, in the US and many other countries, to distribute DVD players unless they restrict the user according to the official rules of the DVD conspiracy (its web site is http://www.dvdcca.org/, but the rules do not seem to be published there). The public can't reject DRM by buying non-DRM players, because none are available. No
matter how many products you can choose from, they all have equivalent digital handcuffs.

GPLv3 ensures you are free to remove the handcuffs. It doesn't forbid DRM, or any kind of feature. It places no limits on the substantive functionality you can add to a program, or remove from it. Rather, it makes sure that you are just as free to remove nasty features as the distributor of your copy was to add them. Tivoization is the way they deny you that freedom; to protect your freedom, GPLv3 forbids tivoization.

The ban on tivoization applies to any product whose use by consumers, even occasionally, is to be expected. GPLv3 tolerates tivoization only for products that are almost exclusively meant for businesses and organizations. (The latest draft of GPLv3 states this criterion explicitly.)

Another threat that GPLv3 resists is that of patent deals like the Novell-Microsoft deal. Microsoft wants to use its thousands of patents to make GNU/Linux users pay Microsoft for the privilege, and made this deal to try to get that. The deal offers Novell's customers rather limited protection from Microsoft patents.

Microsoft made a few mistakes in the Novell-Microsoft deal, and GPLv3 is designed to turn them against Microsoft, extending that limited patent protection to the whole community. In order to take advantage of this, programs need to use GPLv3.

Microsoft's lawyers are not stupid, and next time they may manage to avoid those mistakes. GPLv3 therefore says they don't get a "next time". Releasing a program under GPL version 3 protects it from Microsoft's future attempts to make redistributors collect Microsoft royalties from the program's users.

GPLv3 also provides for explicit patent protection of the users from the program's contributors and redistributors. With GPLv2, users rely on an implicit patent license to make sure that the company which provided them a copy won't sue them, or the people they redistribute copies to, for patent infringement.

The explicit patent license in GPLv3 does not go as far as we might have liked. Ideally, we would make everyone who redistributes GPL-covered code surrender all software patents, along with everyone who does not redistribute GPL-covered code. Software patents are a vicious and absurd system that puts all software developers in danger of being sued by companies they have never heard of, as well as by all the megacorporations in the field. Large programs typically combine thousands of ideas, so it is no surprise if they implement ideas covered by hundreds of patents. Megacorporations collect thousands of patents, and use those patents to bully smaller developers. Patents already obstruct free software development.

The only way to make software development safe is to abolish software patents, and we aim to achieve this some day. But we cannot do this through a software license. Any program, free or not, can be killed by a software patent in the hands of an unrelated party, and the program's license cannot prevent that. Only court decisions or changes in patent law can make software development safe from patents. If we tried to do this with GPLv3, it would fail.

Therefore, GPLv3 seeks to limit and channel the danger. In particular, we have tried to save free software from a fate worse than death: to be made effectively proprietary, through patents. The explicit patent license of GPLv3 makes sure companies that use the GPL to give users the four freedoms cannot turn around and use their patents to tell some users "That doesn't include you." It also stops them from colluding with other patent holders to do this.

Further advantages of GPLv3 include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license. (For full information, see gplv3.fsf.org.) All in all, plenty of reason to upgrade.

Change is unlikely to cease once GPLv3 is released. If new threats to users' freedom develop, we will have to develop GPL version 4. It is important to make sure that programs will have no trouble upgrading to GPLv4 when the time comes.

One way to do this is to release a program under "GPL version 3 or any later version". Another way is for all the contributors to a program to state a proxy who can decide on upgrading to future GPL versions. The third way is for all the contributors to assign copyright to one designated copyright holder, who will be in a position to upgrade the
license version. One way or another, programs should provide this flexibility for the future.

Copyright 2007 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted
worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.